The Oxford Casino that voters approved in 2011 is growing and fulfilling its mission of providing jobs and tax revenue.
But one promise made to voters has already been broken and another is now being assailed in the Maine Legislature.
The strongest selling point for the Oxford Casino was that it was supported by established Maine business people and would remain under their control.
They said they were in it to bring jobs to Western Maine, not to just make a quick buck and run.
Voters were reassured by that and approved the casino by the slimmest of margins, 50.4 percent to 49.6.
It's not a stretch to say the pledge of local control made the difference.
But that promise didn't even survive the first year of operation. Last month, the owners sold the Oxford County casino to Churchill Downs Racetrack in Kentucky for $160 million, taking their money and moving on.
When Maine voters approved the casino on Nov. 4 of 2010, the referendum they voted on contained another promise — a detailed plan for spending the slot-machine revenue generated:
* 25 percent for K-12 education;
* 4 percent for University of Maine System scholarships;
* 3 percent for Maine Community College scholarships;
* 4 percent to the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe;
* 3 percent for the Gambling Control Board and addiction counseling services; and
* 2 percent for the town of Oxford.
One percent shares also went to agricultural fairs, harness racing purses, sire stakes, Oxford County and to create a dairy farm stabilization fund.
Table game revenue was to be divided: 10 percent to K-12 essential programs, 3 percent to the Gaming Control Board, 2 percent to Bangor and 1 to Penobscot County.
Voters could not have been more explicit: Here's how to spend the money.
Realizing that drafted legislation may have flaws and oversights, the Legislature does have the power to modify what the voters have approved.
But to ignore the will of voters entirely would be a slap in the face.
Yet that is what a bill submitted by a York County legislator would do.
Rep. James Campbell, I-Newfield, would divert most or all of the casino revenue to general K-12 public education.
Campbell is intent on forcing the state to finally pay for 55 percent of Maine's K-12 education costs, a legal obligation the Legislature has never fulfilled. In fact, the governor's budget would reduce that aid to about 45 percent.
The most curious thing about Campbell's bill is that it mentions nothing about the Hollywood Casino in Bangor, which has a similar cascade of funding to a variety of places, but nothing for K-12 education.
It plows its largest single share into subsidizing trotter-horse racing and betting.
If Campbell's commitment to reach the 55 percent funding level is so important, why not also take the Hollywood Casino money away from the harness racers, the city of Bangor and other recipients?
The most important reason, of course, is that voters have expressed their will in both cases.
More than 25 percent of the state's Oxford Casino revenue already goes to education. Shifting it all would erode voters' faith in the referendum process and in the ability of legislators to follow simple instructions.
(Campbell said Thursday that he only targeted the Oxford Casino money in his bill because the Hollywood Casino "has been around longer.")
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.